FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 29, 2014
SIMCOE – Toby Barrett, Haldimand-Nofolk MPP, is questioning why the Local Food Act hasn’t been proclaimed even though it was passed six months ago. The act would increase local food in the broader public sector.
“If it ever warms up, asparagus season will be upon us,” Barrett said. “Here was an opportunity for local asparagus farmers and it’s been lost by government inaction.”
After being passed by the Legislature and given Royal Assent, legislation must be proclaimed before going into effect. The government can choose whether to proclaim the whole bill at once, or as they did in this case, chose not to proclaim certain sections. The Local Food Act was passed by the Ontario Legislature on November 5, 2013.
The sections of the Local Food Act that have not been proclaimed are those which require the Minister of Agriculture, within one year, to set targets and goals for:
* Encouraging increased use of local food by public sector organizations; and
* Increasing access to local food.
“I’m disappointed that after claiming to be a champion of local food the Premier and Agriculture Minister quietly refused to proclaim the sections of the Local Food Act that would require her to set local food targets for the public sector,” said Opposition Agriculture Critic Ernie Hardeman. “This was the main focus of the bill that she introduced and yet she chose not to put those sections in force.”
The government has also failed to proclaim an amendment by the PC Caucus that would create a tax credit for farmers who donate to community food programs and food banks.
“There are movements afoot to make excess produce available to local food banks. This part of the legislation was a key component of moving innovative new ideas forward. The big losers here are those who depend on food banks,” Barrett said. “Government inaction has created a double whammy for Ontario. Farmers are losing out on increased sales and those who need it most are being robbed of increasing healthy, local produce in their diets.”
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For more information, contact:
Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett at 519-428-0446